DEAR HARRIETTE: My ex-boyfriend received a wonderful award for his work in education. I was so proud to learn of this accomplishment. He worked hard for his degree and has devoted himself to children.
When I learned about the award, I immediately thought I should reach out to congratulate him. When I told my girlfriends about it, they told me not to say anything. We did not have a great breakup. He was rude to me. He had already started dating somebody else, and it was messy. I’m not trying to get back with him. I just want to say congratulations on a well-deserved award. Do you think I should withhold my comments because he made a mistake several years ago? -- Job Well Done, Albany, New York
DEAR JOB WELL DONE: Your instincts are good. If your desire is simply to congratulate him on his work, go for it. Your ability to let go of the past and celebrate the moment for what it is reflects who you are. Holding onto old wounds can be detrimental to your well-being. Now, this does not mean that you should allow this moment to spark renewed interest in the two of you forming a deeper bond. Allow it to be exactly as you intended, a moment to honor his achievement.
You can also give him space to speak. He may have processed the past and realized his folly. If he chooses to apologize for his past behavior, accept. Then get off the phone.